Showing posts from December 3, 2017

Review: Moonraker

In this one, 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) investigates the hijacking of the title US space shuttle, which has been hijacked in the air. The culprit is actually the shuttle’s designer, industrialist Hugo Drax (Michael/Michel Lonsdale) who has devious plans for it. He has also employed the services of metal-mouthed hulking henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel), once again squaring off against Bond. Lois Chiles plays Dr. Holly Goodhead (!), a former NASA astronaut, whilst Corrine Clery is Drax employee Corrine, and Emily Bolton turns up as Manuela, 007’s contact in Brazil. Blanche Ravalec plays a character named Dolly, whom Jaws takes a liking to, whilst Toshiro Suga plays Drax’s other henchman Chang. For my money there’s only two outright duds to date in the James Bond franchise, “A View to a Kill” and this tedious 1979 Lewis Gilbert (the superior “You Only Live Twice” as well as “The Spy Who Loved Me” , and the non-Bond films “Alfie” and “Educating Rita” ) flick. Both films star a l

Review: The American President

During a particularly tough election year where arrogant Conservative rival Robert Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss) is running on a ‘family values’ campaign, widowed incumbent U.S. President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) begins dating GDC lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening), creating awkwardness for both of their respective colleagues. Shepherd’s advisors in particular are warning him that despite high approval ratings, he really needs to not do anything controversial this close to the election. Shawna Waldron is Shepherd’s daughter, Martin Sheen is Shepherd’s long-time friend and Chief-of-Staff A.J., Michael J. Fox is the passionate policy advisor Lewis Rothschild, David Paymer plays White House pollster Stanley Greenberg, Anna Deavere Smith plays press secretary Robin, John Mahoney is Sydney’s displeased boss, Wendie Malick is Sydney’s co-worker, whilst Anne Haney and Samantha Mathis play White House secretaries. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin ( “A Few Good Men” , “The Soci

Review: Jasper Jones

Set in 1969 in a fictional Western Australian small town, Levi Miller stars as 14 year-old Charlie Buktin, who gets a knock at his window one night from the title half-white, half-Indigenous boy a couple of years older (Aaron McGrath). Seen by many as a local delinquent already, Jasper’s in deeper than usual trouble as he takes Charlie (whom he has never spoken to before) out into the woods to show him something horrible, the dead and hanging body of a local girl. Jasper fears that he’ll be blamed for it since he’d been seeing the girl for a bit behind her parents’ back, and also because of his part-Aboriginal background. It’s 60s rural Australia after all. Jasper claims he’s innocent, and wants young Charlie’s help in finding out who did kill her. Jasper believes it was likely town hermit ‘Mad’ Jack Lionel (Hugo Weaving) who is rumoured to have killed someone many years ago, whilst Charlie has no idea what to think. Meanwhile, the marriage between Charlie’s bored mother (Toni Col

Review: The Village

A remote, self-contained 19 th Century village lives in fear of ‘Those we do not speak of’, creatures who supposedly guard the woods between the village and the rest of the world. However, when one of the villagers becomes gravely ill, it’s up to blind Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) to venture through the woods and go to ‘The Town’ to procure medicines. William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, Cherry Jones, and Celia Weston play the town elders. Younger members of the village are played by Joaquin Phoenix, Judy Greer, Jesse Eisenberg, Fran Kranz, and Adrien Brody (as the resident simpleton). A movie that should never have even been committed to film without serious rewrites, this 2004 atmospheric period film basically took the crown off the seemingly promising career of writer-director M. Night Shyamalan ( “The Sixth Sense” , “Unbreakable” , “Split” ). A definite talent in building atmosphere, mood, and excellent visuals, Shyamalan is an uneven director of actors, and see

Review: Wedding Crashers

Enjoyable, generally funny 2005 David Dobkin ( “Clay Pigeons” , “Shanghai Knights” ) comedy with the irresistible idea of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson playing divorce attorneys who crash weddings on the side to get laid and have fun. Which is all well and good (well, good for them anyway) until something unexpected happens…one of them falls in love. At the wedding of one of politician Christopher Walken’s daughters, Wilson and Vaughn make plays for the other two sisters. For Wilson, he falls in love with Rachel McAdams, who is unfortunately attached to Bradley Cooper, basically a grown-up Eddie Haskell, who hides his true repellent self from McAdams and the family. Meanwhile, Vaughn has caught himself a nymphomaniac in younger sister Isla Fisher, who might also be a bunny-boiler. And then there’s Walken’s sex-starved wife Jane Seymour (totally miscast in my view, Bond Girl or not) who tries a Mrs. Robinson (or Stifler’s Mom) on Wilson at one point. Ellen Dow plays the same dotty ol

Review: A Good Man

Steven Seagal plays a special ops guy who hides out in Romania after a botched job. Hoping to spend the rest of his days without much disturbance (working as- get this- a handyman!), he reluctantly goes to bat for pretty neighbour Iulia Verdes and her cute daughter when Verdes’ mob-tied brother Victor Webster pisses off both Russian and Chinese (veteran villain Tzi Ma) gangsters. Hardly the best collaboration between co-writer/director Keoni Waxman and producer-star Steven Seagal (their other films include “The Keeper” , “Maximum Conviction” , and “Force of Execution” ), this 2014 crime-drama is extremely mediocre. Definitely one of Seagal’s bloodier films, I just wish I cared about something here. The plot is old hat, and although Tzi Ma and Victor Webster are relatively accomplished actors, they’re not nearly enough to bring this one out of mediocrity. To be honest, it even feels like a slight step back for Seagal, if nowhere near the bottom-of-the-barrel where the likes of

Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

When M (Bernard Lee) refuses to let Bond (George Lazenby) go in pursuit of master criminal Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas), Bond resigns from Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unbeknownst to him, Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) has given M papers for Bond’s temporarily leave instead. Whilst attempting to locate Blofeld, Bond gets caught up with Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, AKA Tracy (Dame Diana Rigg), a gorgeous buy despondent daughter of crime boss Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti). Draco, seeing the developing love-hate relationship between the two, wants Bond to marry his daughter and offers up a million pounds to the secret agent. Bond agrees to the marriage, so long as Draco helps him in locating Blofeld’s current location. The bride and groom fall in love anyway. After getting the required information, and posing as genealogist Sir Hilary Bray (George Baker), Bond arrives as Blofeld’s Swiss hideout to discover what he and his second-in-command Irma Blunt (Ilse Steppat) are up to. A ho